Barcelona responded to news that Real Madrid had finally woken up in La Liga – winning 7-1 against Deportivo – by going to Betis and thrashing them 5-0.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both scored twice after Ivan Rakitic had raced away to get the first. Betis had held their own in the first half but they were demolished in the second 45 minutes by a side who are back to 19 points clear of fourth-placed Madrid, 14 clear of third-placed Valencia, and 11 ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid.
The scoreline was hard on Betis. It was also a measure of how ruthlessly effective Barcelona have become under Ernesto Valverde.
Ivan Rakitic broke the deadlock in the second half after being played through brilliantly by Luis Suarez. Lionel Messi doubled the lead with a cool finish after receiving the ball from Sergio Busquets in the box. Suarez added a third with a fine volley into the corner after cross from Rakitic on the right.
Messi made things worse for the hosts, dribbling past two defenders before slotting past Antonio Adan. Suarez completed the rout, firing in off the bar after being played in on goal by Messi.